Kurt Vile in the i Arena, Latitude Festival

Posted on July 27, 2012

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written by Robert Pollard for Festival Republic

Kurt Vile is an anomaly in the music world. While others overdo their performance and over-stylise their look, Kurt lets his music do the talking. A shy, retiring front man may seem like the antithesis of music stardom but Vile pulls it off with aplomb. Playing tracks spanning his career, including from his last LP ‘Smoke Ring for My Halo’, he mesmerised his audience in the intimate i Arena, providing a real treat for all in attendance.

Vile’s take on psychedelic folk makes other artists’ attempts at the genre seem trite in comparison. Philadelphia’s finest is the real deal; effortlessly cool and virtuoso on the guitar, he makes playing look easy. He also writes beautiful songs, such as the sumptuous Baby’s Arms from his last album, and he can rock out too, with overdriven sounds and raw singing. Seger, Fahey and Petty are clearly high up the influence list for Vile but he has brewed his own sound and there’s something for nearly every type of guitar fan in his catalogue.

Whether he’s holding an acoustic or an electric, Vile is completely at one with his guitar. He has an inimitable playing style; all beautiful finger-picking and sliding up and down the fret board. When Vile is playing it’s almost as if the audience aren’t there, as he blocks everything else out and let’s his guitar sing. Kurt Vile in full flight is a captivating experience and Latitude 2012 is all the better for this stunning performance.

In amongst the hip teenage bands so prevalent in music right now, Kurt Vile offers an antidote to temporary cool. Kurt is unassuming and brilliant and his fans appreciate his authenticity. This was a cracking performance and one that will live long in the memory.

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Posted in: Music